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Better: A Surgeon's Notes on Performance Paperback – January 22, 2008
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"Better is a masterpiece, a series of stories set inside the four walls of a hospital that end up telling us something unforgettable about the world outside.” ―Malcolm Gladwell, author of Talking to Strangers
“Atul Gawande's insightful book illuminates the challenging choices members of the profession face every day.” ―Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
“Remarkably honest and human accounts . . . describing professional moments of fear, guilt, embarrassment, and humor . . . Rich in fascinating detail.” ―The Economist
“It's hard to think of a writer working today who makes such good use of man's quest to avoid pain and death. Atul Gawande is not only adding to the small shelf of books by doctors that every layman should read. He's using medicine to help anyone who hopes to do anything better.” ―Michael Lewis, author of The Blind Side
“Gawande . . . manages to capture medicine in all of its complex and chaotic glory, and to put it, still squirming with life, down on the page. . . . With this book Gawande inspires all of us, doctor or not, to be better.” ―Pauline W. Chen, The New York Times Book Review
“Gawande is unassuming in every way, and yet his prose is infused with steadfast determination and hope. If society is the patient here, I can't think of a better guy to have our back.” ―Gail Caldwell, The Boston Globe
“This is a book about failure: how it happens, how we learn from it, how we can do better. Although its focus is medicine, its message is for everybody. . . . It has already been described as a modern masterpiece―and so it is.” ―Jeremy Lawrence, The Independent (UK)
“Better is a mesmerizing book with fascinations on every page, told with mastery, insight, compassion, and humility by a surgeon who doesn't flinch from taboo subjects or self-examination. . . . On every page, one meets a candid and thoughtful man, who pays close attention, and who somehow manages to find the right balance between intimacy and respectfulness, in a world that can be inhospitable to both.” ―Diane Ackerman, author of An Alchemy of Mind
“I found I had been gripping the book so hard that my fingers hurt. . . . It calls to mind one of the great classics of medical literature, Mikhail Bulgakov's A Country Doctor's Notebook. Few modern authors could stand that comparison, but Gawande can.” ―John Carey, The Sunday Times (UK)
About the Author
- Publisher : Picador; 1st edition (January 22, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312427654
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312427658
- Lexile measure : 1100L
- Item Weight : 8.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.57 x 0.82 x 8.29 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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achieving handwashing by healthcare workers to reduce the spread of infections,
attempts to erradicate polio in India by chasing hotspots,
reducing mortality in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars by new strategies of battlefield care,
aspects of chaperones for intimate physical examinations,
different systems for physician compensation,
ways to reform our malpractice laws,
the inhumaness of execution methods and the ethics that prevent physicians from participating,
development of Apgar scores and how they have reduced newborn mortality,
and examples of how doctors and facilities that are highly specialized show better outcomes.
The author explores how significant innovations have been made by those who investigate new approaches and are committed to improvement and how we should all strive to make improvements within our personal niche in healthcare. "How to Become a Positive Deviant"
Dr. Atul Gawande has taken a selection of real life stories of great and inspiring acts in the field of medicine. His portrayal of these stories is even inspiring to those who have no interest in medicine. His description of a hospital team that's primary job is preventing infection. There struggle to get people to simply keep their hands clean was daunting. However it proved when you involve everyone in the solution you can more effectively fix the problem. His description of FST (Field Surgical Teams) in Iraq was eye opening. Little attention by the press was given to this handful of surgeons who saved countless soldiers and civilians lives. One of their greatest accomplishments being the tedious collection of information, which ultimately helped shape war time trauma care. The depiction of the Adgars scale and how its creation dramatically increased newborn mortality rates. It was created by an unlikely Anesthesiologist, the second female in the country given this title. I could go on, however I will save the book for your reading.
Overall the book beat my expectations, so I would recommend reading it. It will inspire you to seek to do "Better". You will feel as though however small your achievements it's the collective efforts of us all that overcome all odds.
Top reviews from other countries
Gawande writes very well and no piece lacks interest - thought some hold more interest than others. Coming to this after Being Mortal and The Checklist Manifesto, the book suffers a little by comparison. There's no overarching theme here to match the 'take-aways' from those extended discussions of a single topic. But Gawande's concluding reflections on why he writes - so as not to be just one cog in a machine but engage with the world directly and at scale - make perfect sense. And he certainly succeeds here - it's just that he'll succeed even more later...
I am a fan of his work anyway so was confident I would enjoy this book.
As I work with people who have English as a second language there are often concerns about misunderstandings, I find that I am attracted to books that define terms that we all thought we knew already. They give an insight into the complexity of a topic and remind me that even between native speakers we can interpret what something means differently.
A great read for people wanting to discuss what better means for their work.